BOONE CO, IA (made in
lays next to







-----Original Message-----
From: Ruth Hackett []
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2006 3:18 PM
To: marie sellers hollinger
Subject: Zellers--Harshman

The followilng item in a 16 Dec 1871 Emmet County, Iowa weekly newspaper piqued my interest because it was my first knowledge that someone from this county was a victim at the March 1857 Indian massacre at Spirit Lake in a neighboring county. After killing abou 38 men, women and children, the Indians took three women hostage and their harrowing experiences have been related.
I wanted to learn the names of Joseph Harshman's parents. "Everybody that was in the west during the winter of 1856-7 will remember it as one of uncommon severity; remarkable for its great depth of snow, its terrible winds and snow drfts and as being the one in which the fearless and inhuman bands of Ink-pa-du-tah [the Indian chief] perpetrated those dark and blood deeds upon our frontier settlements, known as the Spirit Lake Massacre. "It was not an uncommon occurrence for our pioneer settlers during that terrible winter, to make long journeys on snow shoes, with hand sleds, even as far as Ft. Dodge, [70 miles away] for the purpose of procuring a sufficient quantity of the necessaries of life to keep soul and body together until the genial warmth of spring should make traveling with teams a possibility. "A Mr. Harshman having moved in the previous autumn, with his entire family, built a cabin, and passed the winter, on the place where E. J. Ellis now resides, will be remembered from the fact that his son JOSEPH HARSHMAN was the only resident of this county who fell a victim to the scalping knives of those merciless hordes. "On the 8th of that eventful March 1857 young H. with his snow shoes and hand sled, went to the 'lakes' for the purpose of getting some flour, and on the next day the terrible inhuman butchery commenced." Because of my interest in the history of Emmet county I hoped to find information about the Harshman family.
I have learned that the parents were Isaac Harshman and his wife Margaret Zellers. Harshman seems to have disappeared from the scene. And there were no Harshmans listed in Emmet county's first census, that of 1860 when there were only 105 people living anywhere in Emmet county. But I found in the 1860 census of Yell township, Boone county, Iowa Margaret Harshman, 55, born in Ohio,and her son, Jacob Harshman, 21, born in Indiana, were living in the home of Margaret's daughter, Martha Ann Harshman Addington, age 28, and Martha's husband, Jesse Addington, age 31, born in Indiana. The Addingtons also had children, Rachel, 8; Elvina, 6; Isaac, 4; and Joseph W. 2. This morning I was able to uncover the fact that Jesse Addington was a private in Company B of the battalion that marched from Fort Dodge, on March 25th 1857 hoping to rescue the settlers at Spirit Lake, but ended up burying the dead. He was badly frozen in the venture. This discovery now leads me to think that the Isaac Harshman family may have come to Emmet County in 1856 from the Fort Dodge area of Webster county, Iowa. They certainly were among the first half-dozen or so people who settled in this county. But their stay was cut short. I thank you for finding the names of Margaret Zellers' parents and siblings. My main hope now is to find a descendant who has passed down the story of Joseph Harshman so that more can be learned about this unfortunate family. I thank you for your interest. Ruth H.


My initial info on this family is very limited, so there isn't terribly much that I can add of any great value.

However, there is a good amount of info contained on the Harshman families in a couple of good historical accounts. Charles W. Harshman's 1932 book "The Harshman family: also spelled Hershman and Hersman, a history and genealogy" does make mention of Isaac Harshman's line, his marriage to Margaret Zellers/Sellers, with brief notations about their children. According to Charles W. Harshman, these were their children and the following notes about them were his:

1) Peter Harshman - died in Libby Prison
2) Abraham Harshman - married Mary Ann Saunders, Misouri.
3) Malinda Harshman - married Wm. P. Debolt, Union City, Indiana.
4) Barbara Harshman - married John Wilson, Pinesville, Missouri.
5) Andrew J. Harshman - died unmarried. Killed when hunting.
6) Martha Harshman - married Jesse Addington. Oregon.
7) Joseph Harshman - Massacred in Iowa by Indians when 16.
8) Hannah Harshman - married John Studevant, Pinesville, Missouri.
9) Jacob Harshman - Iowa.

I believe there has been a more recent family history written of these Harshmans, however, I have not seen it and am unfamiliar with the title.

Though I do not know what happened to Isaac nor where he is buried, you might try looking for Margaret (Zellers) Harshman in Marcy Township, Boone County, Iowa. Margaret was living there with her son, Jacob Harshman, and his wife, Nancy Jane Crowley, and their 3 children, Andrew J., Mary Cordelia, and Margaret, at the time of the 1870 Census. By 1880, Jacob Harshman and family had moved to Little Sioux in Harrison County, Iowa, and Margaret is no longer listed in their household. Whether she died during the 1870s or whether she went to live with another child is unknown to me at this point.

Again, I don't know if that helps but perhaps there is something contained in the above that will give you a good basis upon which to go hunting :-)

Michael Sellers

Mike and Amber Sellers []